Orban privately acknowledges Hungary's inability to prevent Ukraine from joining EU

Wednesday, 31 January 2024

During a closed-door parliament debate in the spring of 2023, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that Budapest would not be able to enjoin Ukraine's accession to the European Union.

According to Telex, Orban admitted during a non-public parliamentary meeting that although he believed that Hungary could exercise a certain degree of influence, it would not be able to create significant obstacles to Ukraine's accession to the EU.

Orban said that despite Budapest's objections, Ukraine's EU membership would be "pushed through [past] us relatively quickly", according to the article.

According to sources familiar with the details of the meeting, Orban told participants that the United States had promised Kyiv that negotiations on EU membership would begin by the end of 2023; this had been relayed to him by Hungary’s intelligence service.

During the closed debate, Orban said that Budapest would insist upon Ukraine’s reinstatement of the special rights that the Hungarian minority in Ukraine had before 2015, according to Telex.

Orban indicated that no proposals of newly-drafted laws to protect the minority would be accepted, as it was impossible to know how these concessions would be implemented in practice, the sources said.

Earlier, Orban complained that with Ukraine's accession to the EU, all Central European support, including that directed to Hungary, would go to Kyiv.

On 14 December, leaders expressed support for the opening of negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova at the EU summit. Although the decision on Kyiv had been blocked for a long time by Hungary, its veto was overcome by persuading Orban to leave the room during the vote, thus being counted as an abstainer.

However, Orban claimed afterwards that he had intentionally declined to veto the commencement of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU, because he would have many more opportunities to block the process in the future.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editors.